[diggers350] Re: Resurrection and the land/direct democracy

Michael Macpherson mm at iniref.org
Tue Aug 19 09:30:35 BST 2008

May I suggest a way to add interest and people-power to proposals which 
involve fundamental change in public law and/or constitution.

1) Append to your reform proposal a demand for binding plebiscite on the 
proposal, to be held in UK or the political entity in question.

2) Consider a formal affiliation of the proposing group (the association 
or "citizens' initiative" etc.) and the "umbrella" group such as TLIO  
to the Campaign for Direct Democracy, I&R – GB or a campaign with 
similar aims.

Both James Armstrong and Simon Fairlie have expressed interest in the 
I&R – GB campaign www.iniref.org so I hope that co-operation can develop.

Best regards,

p.s I&R ~ GB is independent of political parties. We have no "own" 
policy such as being against European Union or pro-fox hunting. However 
we can assist people and groups wishing to obtain a referendum 
(plebiscite) in a worthy cause.

Dr. Michael Macpherson
I&R ~ GB Citizens' Initiative and Referendum
Campaign for direct democracy in Britain
Malcolm Ramsay wrote:
> I'll wish you luck with this James, because I fully agree with you on 
> the ill effects of corporate personhood and the iniquity of current 
> land law - but do you really think we can arrive at a rational system 
> by piling another absurdity on top of what we already have? 'Extending 
> rights to dead peasants' seems an odd way to try and win recognition 
> of the rights of the living (and I doubt you'll find much sympathy, 
> either politically or from the courts).
> Personally I think we need to find some way of getting recognition of 
> a birthright to land - I posted a piece on this forum a few years ago 
> suggesting an approach that the courts might find difficult to reject, 
> which might (just) conceivably lead to a change in the law without 
> having to sway people politically. But I didn't get much feedback on 
> it and I'm not in a position to take it anywhere myself - it needs 
> someone who is landless (and willing to go out on a limb legally).
> I don't know whether you get many private responses to your posts, but 
> I hope you don't get too disheartened at not getting more feedback 
> through the group. I'd hoped, when I joined the diggers list, that 
> there might be more of a dialogue going on about how we might effect a 
> fundamental change, but mostly it doesn't seem to be that kind of 
> forum and it's good to see you attempting to invigorate it in that 
> direction; I only wish I could believe the proposals you put forward 
> have any prospect of success, but they generally seem to need some 
> groundswell of opinion - my feeling is we need to find some small 
> action that will be like the dropped pebble that sets off an avalanche.
> To my mind you are focusing more on the fundamental problem in this 
> post than you often have in the past, which I'm sure is what we have 
> to do. But there is much in the current system which has real value 
> and I don't think it's enough just to propose sweeping changes - we 
> have to be able to show how they can be integrated with the rest of 
> the law.
> Malcolm Ramsay
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: james armstrong <james36army at yahoo.com>
> To: diggers350 at yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Friday, 15 August, 2008 7:16:13 AM
> Subject: [diggers350] incorporating dead peasants
> Think the land law needs changing? Would you like to redistribute the 
> 129,500 acres of the Duchy of Cornwall? Or the 60,000 of the Duke of 
> Buccleuch? Was your local commons unfairly enclosed two hundred years 
> ago and do you think this needs reversing? Don't want to pay £65,000 
> (and repay £214,000 on a mortgage on it) for the land underneath that 
> new house you want? Don’t have any land of your own to construct your 
> brand new architect designed house at a cost of £55,000 because two 
> thirds of the land of the UK is controlled by 190,000 families who 
> privately tax you for the privilege of building the house you need?
> The doctrine of corporate personhood.
> Supreme court justice Morrison Renwick Waite in Santa Clara County v 
> Southern Pacific Railroad. in 1886 said,
> 'The court does not want to hear argument whether the provision under 
> the fourteenth amendment to the constitution which forbids a state to 
> deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the 
> laws applies to these corporations. We are alike of opinion that it 
> does.'
> ….quoted in 'the Post Corporate World' by David Korton.
> We suggest that another apparent legal absurdity, incorporating dead 
> peasants, can upset the single greatest means, minority control of the 
> land, by which English people are exploited'
> Companies have fictional identity as 'corporations' that is they have 
> been given fictional bodies to which are attached very real legal 
> rights, including personal or human rights. Laws of long ago are very 
> relevant to-day. Fundamental to our constitutional law and 
> particularly to our land law are the statutes of William of Normandy. 
> This is acknowledged by our foremost legal commentators, e.g. Prof FW 
> Maitland who lectured in Cambridge University in 1899.
> Ranulf Glanvill's commentary, written 1187 to 1189, is still referred 
> to by lawyers.
> It is a surprising oversight by which antiquity, human rights and 
> incorporation are conjoined to extend to business enterprises a 
> privileged status which has not been extended to meet the needs of 
> present human society especially those particularly oppressed in the 
> realm of housing.
> Extending rights to dead peasants will set in train the recognition 
> that the ancient basis of our land ownership is now invalid and needs 
> updating and carry the prospect of ending privilege.
> The Statute of Mortmain (i.e. 'dead hand') of 1289 recognised the 
> danger of land being alienated in perpetuity.It limited grants of land 
> to the church,arguing that the church never dies and that such land 
> was lost to the state for ever.
> We should remember that with control of the land went control of the 
> bodies, of the labour and of the lives of the peasants who dwelled on 
> it. Still to-day, controlling land gives control over lives.
> It can be argued that because it is the lot of people to die, but not 
> necessarily of corporations , then people are disadvantaged re 
> 'fictional' corporations and trusts. This cannot be rational nor 
> compatible with current equal opportunities legislation. Incorporating 
> dead peasants is logical and less potentially harmful, in fact 
> beneficial to present day society.
> Once their rights are posthumously recognised the injustice of the 
> laws which oppressed them is apparent and with it the need to remedy 
> the defect.. Title to land based on such laws is invalidated by the 
> recognition that such land law (and title) is inappropriate for 
> current social needs. Laws needs to be scrapped or changed to bring 
> them up to date with modern interpretations of equity. This is 
> relevant to our land law which to an extraordinary degree, in UK, 
> conserves a system of monopoly bulk landownership which acts against 
> the interests of the majority- who are not bulk land owners yet for 
> whom every activity requires access to land and land monopoly runs 
> counter to anti-monopoly legislation such as the 1998 Competition Act. 
> (At present this act applies only to goods and services.) The 
> Competition Law needs amending to extend to transactions in land. 
> Incorporating dead peasants and recognising that their rights were 
> abrogated by
> inequitable land law is the first step in ending exploitation of 
> living people by means of current law which supports minority control 
> of bulk land but is based on such shaky foundations. Alternatively we 
> could wait for the other resurrection. JA

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